The story of the stories of the Diabolical Box and the Unwound Future

So I started writing a post on the continuation of my adventures with Professor Layton and his curious sidekick Luke, but it got really boring.  My writing, I mean — I couldn’t come up with much more to say about the gameplay and my words got very repetitious.  The games were fine.  I stayed with Layton on the Nintendo DS through to more adventures: the Diabolical Box (DB) (2009) and the Unwound Future (UF) (2010) – but the gameplay was pretty much exactly like the first game: find clues, solve puzzles, seek out special items, meet and unusual array of characters.  It’s hardly odd for game sequels to not include more of the same, but good developers usually throw in a little something different to help keep players interested.  With DB and UF, eh, that didn’t really happen, but they did succeed in trying to make the puzzles relate a little more to the on-screen action, so that was something, I guess.  For me, the best part of these latter games was their stories..

***Obviously, story spoilers ahead***

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box cover art © Level-5 and Nintendo (source)

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“Do you want to play Dungeons and Dragons?”

Pardon the divergence, but over the weekend, my husband asked me that exact question (in the title there), and I’ve been pondering it ever since.

It caught me completely off-guard.  All I could say was:

“Um…I don’t know…do I?”

I stammered a bit more and finally said “You know I’ve never played D&D, right?”

“Yes,” he replied, “and I can’t believe with all your RPG knowledge you’ve never played before.”

“Well, I don’t have all the RPG knowledge, but thanks.”  I paused — “Don’t you need dice?”

“Yeah, that’s a problem…” he trailed off.  He didn’t have any.

The conversation, though, motored along, as I learned about the kind of dice he wanted (Elvish glow in the dark), who he used to play with, how much he liked the game, how complicated the whole shebang could get.  He also questioned playing with only two people.  Was that even possible, we wondered?

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Struggling gamer seeks help with card play in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories

When I first got my Nintendo DS in 2006, I think I was more excited about the fact that it could play Game Boy Advance games. I never had a GBA, but I knew it had a great catalog of games.  So before I got my first DS game, I picked up several GBA titles, including and without hesitation, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (2004).  I still had some keen but distant memories of the first Kingdom Hearts game, and I looked forward to revisiting Sora and the gang.

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories cover art © Square Enix, Nintendo (source)

I’ll say **spoilers** here, but I don’t know if anyone cares at this point.  Chain of Memories was not the most successful KH game, so maybe no one ever played it except in Japan.

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Skipping the Asylum for the City, or, once again enjoying Mark Hamill’s company

I’ll readily admit that I don’t always make the best choices.  I’ll usually pick Doritos over carrot sticks; I’ve bought pairs of shoes that barely saw the light of day before being sent to Goodwill; and maybe I shouldn’t have picked up Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull and Pineapple Express on BluRay.  I also should have played Batman: Arkham Asylum when I had the chance back in 2009.  But, being headlong into other game addictions at that time, I paid the game little mind.  Sure, I watched my husband play several levels and thought “detective mode” was mildly interesting, but it didn’t strike me as a game that I wanted to play.  My relationship with Batman had only gone as far as the campy TV series and recent movies, and I was fine with that.

Or so I thought.

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Paper Mario and wondering how I ever remember anything at all

Ahhhh…it’s good to be back.  As much as I love vacationing, I also love returning home…to our house, our cat, our car, our regular meals, everything that’s wonderful and familiar.  There are, of course, some things to which I would rather not return, like work and paying bills, but such is life — you have to take the good with the bad.  (Am I preparing for a bad segue?  You bet!)  In recent weeks, I’ve applied similar feelings to Paper Mario (2001).  Some of you might recall a post I did several weeks ago in which I mentioned buying stuff from the Wii Shop, which I happily did.  I bought Super Mario 64 and, after a trip to the store for a Wii card, proceeded then to purchase Paper Mario and Mega Man X (X2, actually).  And though I had originally intended to play SM64, I started up Paper Mario instead.

Paper Mario cover art © Nintendo (source)

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Exploring from the middle outward with the Ocarina of Time

At the risk of  demonstrating the very narrow road of my playdom, I have to admit that I’ve never played any of the early Zelda games.  The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, A Link to the Past, and Link’s Awakening.  Nope, none of them.  Looking back, it’s not all that much of a surprise that these games slipped under the radar.  Sure, I played games regularly, but I don’t remember clamoring to my parents for each and every NES or SNES game that hit the market. But then again, my parents were also not the types to get us everything that we ever wanted.  And more than likely, even if video games were on a Christmas list, we were more likely to get books, action figures, clothes, or some sort of crafty craft or puzzle thing.

A crafty craft. a.k.a. something to keep the kids busy while mom and dad watch a movie.

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Faster, Turok! Kill! Kill!

Killing.

Yes, you heard me. K-i-l-l-i-n-g.

It’s a funny thing, y’know? In video games, anyway.

Well…actually, I guess it’s not really funny at all, no matter the medium.  But the basic idea of it in gaming is so ingrained that it’s something I certainly take for granted.  At the heart of most video games, from Mario to WoW, is the idea that you (the good players) must triumph over a terrible evil something.  But each path to greatness is fraught with enemies, all of whom must be defeated.  Or killed.  As a young player, I never thought I was “killing” koopas, metroids, or space invaders; but I was erasing them from existence and I had no qualms about doing so.  The goal was to simply beat the game and/or get the highest score.  Back then, I don’t remember playing any game that involved killing “real” “living” forms.  There was Duck Hunt, and I couldn’t stand it.  Besides being bad at aiming, I really disliked the whole idea of shooting ducks.  This probably had more to do with my stance towards animals advocacy, but I really was pretty bad at the game.  Now, by the time I got to DOOM, Duke Nuke’Em, and Wolfenstein (ugh), well…for me the environments were creepy enough without the addition of the humanoid enemies.  However, I still never felt sorry for killing a single demon/monster/robot/zombie because, hey, it had to be done to save the world, right?

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Metroid Prime was worth the wait, and more on me being an idiot

It’s June 1st, and I’m kinda freaking out about the whole wedding thing.  Yeah, it’s happening…soon…so very soon.  Dear readers, I have no idea how posting is going to go this month since I’ll be away for part of it.  And especially since I’m currently running on the brain power of a cream-filled doughnut.  I’m going to try to aim for one post a week.  Apologies in advance for bad grammar, incomplete thoughts, and/or incoherent ramblings.  

And with that, let us commence…

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In the whole tiny slew of games that I have played, I don’t think a single one came with the incredible anticipation I felt awaiting the release of Metroid Prime (2002).

Metroid Prime cover art © Retro Studios and Nintendo (source)

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